A town outside of Rome is selling neglected homes for a little more than $1 – but buyers must commit to renovating them within 3 years

A small, empty street in Maenza, a medieval village in the Lazio region. Blue skies.
The medieval town of Maenza in Italy. [email protected]/Getty Images
  • In Maenza, Italy, 100 homes are selling for about $US1 ($AU1) to buyers who can commit to renovating them.
  • Buyers can turn the 550-750-square-foot stone dwellings into businesses or modern homes.
  • Buyers must also provide a deposit of about $US5,840 ($AU8,181) upon purchasing to be returned after renovating.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A town near Rome, Italy, is selling houses for just over $US1 ($AU1), but there’s a catch – you have to commit to renovating it within three years, CNN reported.

Maenza is a quaint medieval town full of narrow alleys, cobblestone pathways, and history, according to the same article.

The town has about 100 homes for sale for a little more than $US1 ($AU1) (€1) that are in need of repairs, according to CNN. The homes were built in the 1700s, and many of them have been abandoned for years, according to the same article.

A wide shot of the city with a small circular image on the left showing a narrow alley in the city. A red arrow points from the smaller image to the city.
Maenza, Italy, is a little over an hour from Rome by car. [email protected]/Getty Images

Small towns in other European countries and other parts of Italy and Sicily have previously listed homes for sale for $US1 ($AU1) – but Maenza is the first town to offer houses at the eye-catching price tag that’s within driving distance to Italy’s capital city.

Claudio Sperduti, the mayor of Maenza, told CNN that Maenza is getting in touch with the families who own the properties to give them up to be sold.

“Families and youths often leave town to move to larger homes in nearby cities and villas in the countryside, but there’s always some newcomer who takes their place so it’s balanced out,” Sperduti told CNN. “This is not a dying city, people still inhabit the old district but it needs a revamp, fresh oxygen.”

Buyers can renovate the homes into modern residences or turn them into businesses – including retail stores, restaurants, or bed and breakfasts.

Two photos show cobblestone streets and stone houses lined with trees and flowers in the town of Maenza, Italy.
Winding streets in Maenza. [email protected]/Getty Images

Potential buyers must file how they’d like to renovate the homes and provide a $US5,840 ($AU8,181) (about €5,000) deposit upon purchasing, according to the same article. The deposit will be returned once renovations are complete, CNN reports.

Sperduti told CNN that the estimated $US5,840 ($AU8,181) deposit accounts for the homes’ size, as they are all between 550 and 750 square feet each. This estimate includes tax deductions for eco-friendly renovations, according to the same article.

Maenza was built by shepherds and later occupied by Germanic Volsci tribes, CNN reports. The stone homes have views of the town square, the sea, and the nearby Pontine Islands, according to the same article.

Potential buyers can visit the town’s website to see which homes are for sale. The first round of home applications are due by Saturday, Sperduti said, but more will be on the market soon.

Representatives for the city of Maenza didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.